nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘books with a strong sense of ‘place’’ Category

waterfalls of New Brunswick – a reading by Nicholas Guitard

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On Thursday evening this week, Nicholas Guitard will be reading during our church’s Authors Coffee House. Nicholas Guitard is the author of Waterfalls of New Brunswick (Gooselane, 2009). He is also author of The Lost Wilderness: Rediscovering W.F. Ganong’s New Brunswick (Gooselane, 2015).  Ganong was a famous 19th and 20th century naturalist and geographer who is responsible for much of the understanding of natural history, place names and geography of New Brunswick. You can get copies of these books here and here.

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If you are in the Fredericton area, you would certainly enjoy this reading. There will be photos of some of New Brunswick’s best waterfalls, as well as refreshments and a chance to talk to Nick about his work. Hope to see you there!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

an intelligent world of blue

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Yesterday, we went on a drive along the Saint John River from Oromocto to Jemseg. We hoped to see some birds or other wild life. But we didn’t even see a crow!!!!

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However we did see the world painted in a sweet-toned shade of blue … the ice on the river, the long shadows on the meadows and the sky. I was reminded of Douglas Adams and his tribute to hooloovoo ‘blue’.

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A Hooloovoo is a super-intelligent shade of the color blue.

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy    

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

March 3, 2017 at 7:57 am

“Glorious Light”

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So far this winter I have read some terrific books. One of the best combines my interest in history with my love of stained glass.

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“Glorious Light — The Stained Glass of Fredericton” by John Leroux (Gaspereau Press, 2011) is a splendid photographic record of the best kept secret of Fredericton’s architecture. The book explores both sacred and secular examples of glass artistry throughout the city.  With examples, it describes and provides background on specific windows, some I have seen and wondered about since I came to Fredericton almost 40 years ago.

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On Thursday evening this week, as part of our “Authors Coffee House” (Holy Trinity Anglican Church), John Leroux will give a presentation and reading of “Glorious Light”. John is a noted local architect and restoration specialist, and an engaging speaker. If you are in the Fredericton area, this would be a great way to spend a Thursday evening. Perhaps I’ll see you there!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

January 24, 2017 at 8:38 pm

on my bookshelf – Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada by Lyn and Richard Harrington

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Thanks to a friend, I have added a gem to my small collection of covered bridge books! Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada, published in 1976, gives a glimpse of days when there were over a hundred covered bridges still standing in New Brunswick.

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Harrington, Lyn and Richard Harrington. Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 1976.

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Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada includes black and white photos (and two in colour) of many of the covered bridges of the time, including one of the Southwest Otnabog Covered Bridge on Base Gagetown.

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These photos provide a glimpse into history: the types of signage used, the vintage cars, and the land uses in the vicinity of the bridge. Photos show the stacking of wooden lobster traps and log drives on the river. From the days when the bridges were used for private notices, there are photos of a circus poster and a painted eye glass advertisement.

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The book also includes written information on the history of covered bridges, bridge construction, enemies of the covered bridge and hopes for the future. The text covers topics such as traditions and superstitions, sources of bridge names, and anecdotes. I like the detailed story of the creation of the picnic park beside the Patrick Owens Bridge in Rusagonis.

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The Chapter ‘Hope for the Future’ is informative and somewhat sad. In the 1970s The League for Rural Renewal was seen by the author as the cornerstone for covered bridge protection and appreciation.

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Since the book was published, we have lost over forty covered bridges. On the positive side, appreciation for rural landscape is still alive in New Brunswick, evidenced by the many efforts of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. On our visits to covered bridges we have seen new roofs, mended walls and upgrades to abutments. Some of the photos in the book show deteriorated bridges now renovated and mended.

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The book provides a list of covered bridges in New Brunswick and Quebec in 1970. Although the list includes the names of 101 covered bridges in New Brunswick, the authors say 113 bridges existed in 1974/75 when they made their visits. The book also says there were 307 covered bridges in New Brunswick in 1950. Many of the names in the list are no longer familiar in today’s covered bridge lexicon: two bridges over the Shikatehawk River in Carleton County; Windgap Brook #1 in Kings County; Southwest Long Creek in Queens County; and Chemical Creek #1 in Albert County. As a point of interest, in the 1960s, there were still three covered bridges in Nova Scotia.

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The Foreword to the book is by Milton Gregg, born in Kings County, New Brunswick – cabinet minister, recipient of the Victoria Cross for bravery in World War II and Officer of the Order of Canada. He was also the founder and head of the League for Rural Renewal mentioned above.

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I was very fortunate to receive my copy of this book from a friend and I thank him again for the gift. Amazon lists the book as available through one of their associated sellers.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

on my bookshelf –  A Photo Tour of the Covered Bridges of New Brunswick by Ray Boucher

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As I make revisions to my poetry manuscript ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’, my collection of books about covered bridges in New Brunswick provides needed reference material. Ray Boucher’s book A Photo Tour of the Covered Bridges of New Brunswick looks at the 64 covered bridges present in the province in 2008. Today only 60 of these remain.

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Ray Boucher. A Photo Tour of the Covered Bridges of New Brunswick. Kissing Bridge Publications, 2009.

A Photo Tour takes the reader county-by-county to discover New Brunswick’s covered bridges. Many of the bridges are shown in more than one photo and photos were taken in every season. I particularly like the photos showing a bridge from up or downstream.

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Now gone from this record of 64 are the Adair Bridge (North Becaguimec River #1) (lost to fire in 2009), the Aaron Clark Bridge (Canaan River #1) (lost to flooding in 2014), the Stone Ridge Bridge (Keswick River #6) (lost to fire in 2008), and the Mangrum Bridge (Becaguimec River #3) (lost to fire in 2011). My version of the book has notes added in red to indicate the 2014 and 2008 losses. The historical value of this book is the photographic record of these four bridges as well as those still standing.

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Each photo is accompanied by facts on bridge length and date of construction, and interesting notes and anecdotes on the bridge and the photographer’s visit. Since my husband accompanied me on my visits to the covered bridges I am writing about, I liked reading that this book was also a husband and wife effort!

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I was able to buy a copy of this book on Amazon.ca … my collection of books about covered bridges is growing!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

on my book shelf:  ‘Crow Impressions & Other Poems’

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I am now reading Crow Impressions & Other Poems’ by Edith Miller. Crow Impressions is another book from my publisher, Chapel Street Editions in Woodstock, New Brunswick. Edith and I both launched our books at Westminster Books in Fredericton on June 9. Although I gave her book a quick read before the launch, I have now been able to sit down and enjoy a thoughtful read, as this insightful book deserves!

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Edith Hoisington Miller, Crow Impressions and other poems. Chapel Street Editions: Woodstock, 2016.

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The other evening at a local writing event I sat next to a fellow book-lover who asked me if I’d read Edith’s book. ‘I love poetry about nature,’ she said. ‘The poems in Crow Impressions make you feel like you are there!’

Throughout her book, Edith’s first-hand knowledge of her subject matter shines through. Edith has watched not only crows, but herons on the shore, song sparrows in the rose bush, and eaglets in the nest. It has been said that crows recognize individual humans and I am certain they know Edith! I know she reveres this kindred ‘spirit sign’, understanding the crow’s sharing of this world,  the intricacies of their language. I love her inclusion of her first poem, written when she was seven – it will be a mystery for you to solve in your own reading, what part of nature she addresses in her poem.

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As I read, I am able to follow a journey to places Edith has lived and visited — from Long Island Sound to Arizona, from Penobscot Bay to New York City, here to Fredericton in New Brunswick. As I read, I am taken to places I have been but stopped short of fully knowing. I read ‘Tidal Bore’ and experience the wild ride on the Shubenacadie River. The sounds and smells in ‘Air Shaft’ recall my own few days in New York City in the 1970s and show me what it might have been like to live in the Village (truly ‘the dream of a 1950s suburban girl’!). Edith’s poems show she shares my interest in American Hopi culture and her poems show the respect she has for other cultures through her experience in issues of social justice.

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Crow Impressions is a lovely book, from the feel in a reader’s hands, to the easy-on-the-eyes layout. From the etching on the cover (a woodcut of a crow from a skate board created as a tribute to the memory of her grandson Isaac William Miller) to the final poems of the book. These return to the image of the crow, acknowledging the true nature of the ‘spirit sign’.

I recommend a close read of Crow Impressions – it will recall your own journey, make you ponder the symbols in your life for their particular meanings, and give you the joy of a walk on the beach even if you are far from the shore. Edith’s book is available at http://www.chapelstreeteditions.com and at our planned joint reading at Tidewater Books in Sackville this fall.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

on my bookshelf: New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges by Helen Coldrick

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One of the ‘must haves’ in a collection of books about covered bridges in New Brunswick is Helen Coldrick’s soft cover book New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges. It includes drawings and information on the 70 bridges that existed in 1992. Today there are only 60 covered bridges in New Brunswick and Helen’s book is one way of seeing some of what we are missing.

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Helen Coldrick. New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges. Neptune Publishing Company Limited: Saint John, 1992.

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In her book, Helen includes 30 of her black and white drawings of various covered bridges and construction features. I love these drawings because I can see the artist’s process in the lines: her way of using shadow and white space, and her approach to portraying the reflections in water. The drawings also show the setting of each bridge and in some cases, the dramatic landscape of the river beneath.

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Drawings in the book include bridges now lost: the Aaron Clarke Bridge (lost to flooding in 2014) and Iroquois River #4 (no longer standing).  The book also includes a listing of the covered bridges in New Brunswick in 1992. I think one of the values of the book is its snapshot of the situation in years past. The New Brunswick government keeps a list of today’s covered bridges but finding information on those no longer existing is more challenging. Helen’s book shows us what some of these lost bridges looked like and tells some of their stories.

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New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges includes a general history of covered bridges in New Brunswick, and a description of covered bridges by county. The book also includes lots of information on bridge construction, including pages on trusses, abutments, bases, sidings, entrances, windows and walkways, and roofs.

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New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges is available for $7.95 from Nimbus Publishing (www.nimbus.ca). If you are interested in New Brunswick, covered bridges, history or architecture, or if you just like books with lovely drawings, this would be a great addition to your library!

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Copyright  Jane Tims 2016

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